Involve students in framing curricula, this could overhaul education system in India
Last week, Mumbai University’s (MU) board of studies in Zoology set up a consultation with students in order to improve the Third Year syllabus for the Zoology (Honours) course. This was an effort to seek ideas from students in the drafting and framing of the curriculum. While , even within MU, the debate on the efficacy of such a conversation continues, the question of whether students should have a say in the curriculum they study is an important one.
As the principal stakeholders in the education system of the country, students have never really had a say in what they want to study. Some universities have a practice of students evaluating teachers, but neither is it an established one, nor is it taken very seriously. Mostly, it is only about the quality of teachers, and almost never about the curriculum and its usefulness. It would be an interesting exercise to understand the curriculum from the other side of the educator-student divide; and such an endeavour can only lead to a widening of our horizons. It is no secret that the higher education system in India is in need of a complete overhaul. Many of the courses on offer provide students with no real employable skills and do not manage to inspire students to take up further research. Teaching methods are outdated, infrastructure is almost uniformly poor, and the examination system entirely inadequate.
India stands at the threshold of a demographic dividend: Current trends indicate that 20% of the world’s working age population will live in India by 2025. To ensure that this population has the skills to survive and be fruitfully employed is the biggest challenge that the education sector faces today. It would make sense for the education sector to consult its primary stakeholders about what they wish to study and how, in order to make the system cater to their needs.